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Jun 9, 2014 The Unlocking Potential: Perspectives on Education in Prison blog series—as part of Vera’s Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education Project—explores postsecondary education in prison and its benefits—during and after incarceration—through the unique experiences and insight of former students, educators, nonprofit heads, corrections officials, reentry specialists, and more.  Walter Fortson is currently a Masters of Philosophy candidate in...

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Jun 3, 2014 A jail cell covered in blood after an inmate-on-inmate assault. Unsupervised inmates playing with a handgun and injecting themselves with drugs. An inmate’s suicide caught on surveillance video that no deputy was watching. These are the images and stories captured in an hour-long public television documentary that examines the violence and troubling conditions of detention at Orleans Parish Prison (OPP), New Orleans’s jail. It is these conditions that led...

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May 22, 2014 It sounds like the first line of a joke: "Three state corrections teams and some experts who are old hands at visiting prisons go to meet their warden counterparts in Germany and the Netherlands in mid-January to see what they could learn." But it's a true story—and what high-level delegations from Colorado, Georgia, and Pennsylvania learned through the Vera Institute of Justice's European-American Prison Project is no laughing matter. What we learned,...
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May 16, 2014 It was gratifying to read Vera’s recent report concerning the sentencing and incarceration practices in Germany and the Netherlands—practices described as “organized around the central tenets of resocialization and rehabilitation”—as they are closely aligned with the practices adopted by the Hampden County Correctional Center (HCCC) in western Massachusetts. HCCC has codified its operational philosophy and practice in The Hampden County Model: Guiding...
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May 14, 2014 A few years ago, a colleague asked me a pointed question about cost-benefit analysis: "Is it useful or a bunch of baloney?" (Actually, her words were a bit saltier.) We had worked together at the New York City Office of Management and Budget—and budget offices incubate a healthy dose of skepticism. Analysts often hear claims that a dollar spent today will pay for itself tomorrow.   My answer to her question: It depends on how well a CBA has been done and...

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May 9, 2014 New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, in an event yesterday at Mercer County Community College, did more than announce the expansion of one of Vera’s Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education Project pilot sites, New Jersey STEP. He framed higher education in prisons as a moral imperative that we all share and an opportunity to give incarcerated individuals the tools they need to succeed after their release. New Jersey STEP—Scholarship and...

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May 6, 2014 A longer version of this interview originally appeared on the blog of the Cost-Benefit Knowledge Bank for Criminal Justice (CBKB), a Vera project. Dr. Craig D. Uchida is the president of Justice & Security Strategies, Inc., and is a former director of research at the National Institute of Justice. He is also a member of the Law Enforcement Forecasting Group (LEFG), a program of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). Vera’s...
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